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2005 Dodge Caravan / Grand Caravan Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: Best Bang for the Minivan Buck! by baileydog15

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Introduction

Cheaper to buy and maintain than Odyssey, plus stow-n-go!

Reviewed: 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan

4dr Minivan, ext. 207-horsepower 3.8L V6 4-speed automatic FWD

Why the 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan?

Powertrain performance

Despite having a limited amount of horsepower (compared to other modern vans), I rarely feel the need for more power. This thing shifts accurately and smoothly equipped with the 4-speed automatic.

Handling

Having the top of the line SXT trim, I feel this van handles pretty well for its size and weight. I have put high(er) performance Michelins on the van, but I feel pretty confident driving this vehicle around sharp curves at high speeds.

Cargo capacity

With the stow-n-go seating and cavernous space behind the third row, there isn't much cargo this van can't swallow up. Having three children, we regularly leave one of the second-row captain's chairs in the floor to give us easier access to our children in the third row (still in booster/car seats).

Driving position & visibility

Very good visibility in the van through both the front and rear windows. The seat height is very adequate as well.

Price or payments

Thousands cheaper than a Honda or Toyota and for us, besides the little things, very reliable overall.

Why Not the 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan?

Fuel economy

I tend to drive this thing hard, and on highway trips where I average 80 to 85 mph, the fuel economy is only around 17 or 18. Should be at least in the low 20s. Around town and with my wife driving it, fuel economy is around 20 to 21.

Materials & workmanship

Some interior parts are cheaply made, especially the plastic ones. Have had several pieces related to the stow-n-go break. Windows and door locks (electrical components) have given us problems in the past. But the fixes are usually cheap and easy enough to do on my own.

Quietness

A recurring groaning/whining sound coming from the power steering. The A/C and heater constantly make loud noises when in use.

Conclusion

Liked our 1st Caravan (a '99), which was stone-cold reliable (engine/transmission-wise) but needed a larger van. Bought the larger Gr. Caravan and it has been pretty reliable, save for the occasional electrical problem or tie rods. Love the creature comforts of the SXT (power everything, DVD, Nav.)

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